Tiger of the Week: Vin Gupta ’05, Pursuing Work in Clinical Practice and Health Policy

Vin Gupta ’05 (Courtesy Vin Gupta)

Vin Gupta ’05 (Courtesy Vin Gupta)

Although there is “increasing evidence” that universal health care improves health outcomes, many of the world’s lower- and middle-income countries have not pursued universal health care policies, according to a recent article by lead author Vin Gupta ’05 and three colleagues, published online in The New England Journal of Medicine. With that in mind, Gupta and his colleagues studied the adoption of universal health care in six countries — Chile, Mexico, China, Thailand, Turkey, and Indonesia — and the political, social, and economic factors that made the change possible.

The results, Gupta told PAW, are “more diagnostic than prescriptive,” but the research could play a useful role as the United Nations discusses new development goals at a summit that begins later this week. For example, the group found that “societal solidarity” (admittedly difficult to measure) was not a prerequisite to adding universal health care. Economic growth, on the other hand, was present in all six countries during the periods in which the government added universal health care.

Gupta said that more of the research, including details from individual countries and examples of “how they navigated common problems,” will be part of a new book, A Convenient Truth: The Politicization of Health Reforms and Electoral Success in the Southern Hemisphere. His co-authors include Eric Goosby ’74, a professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine who served as the U.S. Global AIDS coordinator in the Obama administration from 2009-13.

Gupta, a chemistry major at Princeton, attended medical school at Columbia, starting a path toward clinical practice. But a few years later, a Fulbright fellowship in public health took him to China and East Africa and kindled a deep interest in foreign policy and global health. Now, with his M.D. from Columbia and a master’s degree in international relations from Cambridge, Gupta is pursuing both tracks in his career.

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Princeton Football Rolls to 40-7 Win at Lafayette

On Saturday night, Princeton became the last Division I football team to start its season, and the Tigers began it in style, bringing home the first season-opening win in Head Coach Bob Surace ’90’s five years with the program. Princeton beat Lafayette 40-7, the largest margin of victory in an opener since a 1955 win over Rutgers.

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Neither team scored in the first quarter, but by halftime, the Tigers were up 23-0. Two years ago, the team had been in the same position, up 22-3 against Lehigh in a game Princeton eventually lost, 29-28.

“We have a lot of returners, so probably 45 of the guys were there when we lost to Lehigh, and the first half had looked just like that,” Surace said.

The veteran team remembered the lesson of the 2013 opener. “We sustained our energy and had some really strong plays,” Surace said. “We were able to put blinders on and just play.”

Surace said he was excited to see Trevor Osborne ‘17 on the receiving end of Chad Kanoff ’17’s first career touchdown pass. (Kanoff, in his first game as a starter, completed 20 of 31 attempts for 256 yards with one interception.) The coach also was happy to see Khamal Brown ’16, who played as a cornerback his first three years, look comfortable playing as a safety in his first game in that position.

The offensive line had an impressive debut, paving the way for more than 300 rushing yards and excelling in pass protection. “I think they only touched quarterback twice,” Surace said.

Offensive tackle Mason Darrow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Offensive tackle Mason Darrow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Part of that offensive line was junior tackle Mason Darrow. For Darrow, Saturday night’s win marked the end of a tremendous week. He publicly came out as gay on Tuesday, when an OutSports article featured his account of coming out to his teammates. Since then, the article has been shared on Facebook more than 26,000 times.

To top it off, Saturday night was the first time Darrow played since early in the 2014 season, when he tore his ACL against Columbia. After over months of slow rehab, Darrow was thrilled to be competing for the Tigers again.

“Honestly, it was just great to be back. That was the best I’ve ever felt walking out onto a football field,” he said.

As for the attention the OutSports article has given him, Darrow said everyone has been incredibly supportive and congratulatory, but the attention has been a little weird. Continue reading

Nights in the ER: Muñoz ’00 Chronicles His Journey to Becoming a Doctor

Daniel Muñoz ’00

Daniel Muñoz ’00

Daniel Muñoz ’00 was a medical resident at John Hopkins University when a 39-year-old having a heart attack was wheeled into the emergency room. After serving as part of the team that saves the man’s life, Muñoz discovered something: “I knew where I wanted to be: not watching but doing, on the side of the glass where I can help shape a patient’s fate. I would be a cardiologist.”

Alpha Docs: The Making of a Cardiologist, written with James M. Dale, is his account of his transformation from medical student to professional as he completes the first year of a cardiology fellowship at Hopkins. Muñoz describes how he arrives at diagnoses, counsels worried family members, and struggles to stay awake for days and nights on end. “As a trainee, you’re hungry to become competent, and you look for opportunities to try something,” says Muñoz, who now is an assistant professor of medicine and the medical director for quality at Vanderbilt University’s Heart and Vascular Institute. “At the same time, you recognize the patient wants it done right the first time, so there’s a tension between the two.” Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Documentary Filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ’00

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ’00 (Courtesy Little Monster Films)

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ’00 (Courtesy Little Monster Films)

By Jeanette Beebe ’14

Meru, a Sundance Audience Award-winning white-knuckler of a documentary, follows three elite mountain climbers on their quest to conquer the 21,000-foot summit of Mount Meru, the most technically difficult peak in the Himalayas. It’s a death-defying expedition into sub-zero temperatures that involves extraordinary risks.

But the mission that climbers Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, and Jimmy Chin share is not only physically grueling; it’s emotional. Meru tests their friendship, and their relationships with their families back home.

No one knows this better than Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ’00, who co-directed and co-produced the film with Chin. The directors fell in love through the making of Meru, and they married in 2013. Now, they split their time between the Upper East Side of New York City and the big blue skies of Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“I’m not a climber, so I was always more interested in the human relationships in the film,” Vasarhelyi said from New York as the couple’s toddler, Marina, gurgled patiently after waking up from her afternoon nap. (She’s used to Mommy doing interviews, Vasarhelyi laughed.)

Vasarhelyi and Chin met at a conference in 2012. Chin, a professional alpinist and cinematographer, shot the film with Ozturk on their two Meru expeditions in 2008 and 2011. Continue reading

Names in the News: Kagan ’81 on Writing, Massey *78 on Immigration, and More

When Supreme Court Justice ELENA KAGAN ’81 drafts opinions, she writes “so that a non-lawyer can understand it,” according to a recent interview published in The National Law Journal. Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School, also said that law schools need to do more to help their students become better writers.

How did CHARLIE STILLITANO ’81 become the best-connected American in European soccer? Close friendships with the likes of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have played a big role. “You earn trust by your behavior with people,” Ferguson tells Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl ’96. “I’ve got a million Charlie stories. He invites you over for dinner when he’s at home, and it’s a long day of humor, fun and good food.”

The Bitcoin Foundation’s former chief scientist, GAVIN ANDRESEN ’88, told MIT Technology Review that the crypto-currency is in urgent need of changes to help it process more transactions. Otherwise, he said, the $3.3 billion system may become “congested and unreliable.” Earlier this month, Princeton launched an online course about Bitcoin on Coursera.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s view of illegal immigration is at odds with the statistical trends, which show the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico in sharp decline, Princeton sociology professor DOUGLAS MASSEY *78 told The New York Times. Massey’s research was featured in PAW in 2012.

Who Do You Love: A Novel, by Jennifer Weiner ’91

Jennifer Weiner ’91

Jennifer Weiner ’91

The book: When Rachel Blum and Andy Landis meet in a hospital emergency room, about the only thing they have in common is their age: 8. Rachel, born with a heart defect, is the privileged daughter of overprotective Jewish Floridians, while Andy, who is biracial, is the son of an impoverished single mother in Philadelphia. Though they think they will never meet again, they connect on a high-school volunteer trip and fall in love. Who Do You Love follows their relationship — filled with twists and turns — over the next three decades. The book explores the differences between people and also touches on issues of race, class, religion, and the costs of fame.

The author: Jennifer Weiner ’91 is the bestselling author of 12 novels, including Good in Bed, All Fall Down, and In Her Shoes, which became a 2005 motion picture starring Cameron Diaz. She has written for The New York Times and has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America. In an interview on CBS News, Weiner said Who Do You Love was inspired by her own romance. Continue reading